Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Goodbye My Darling
(Picture taken by our friend Claire Wilson last year.)
JONATHAN RODDA JACKSON
2.11.40 - 26.12.10
On Boxing Day my lovely Pip died. It sounds such a cliche to say that he fought for his life, but he really did, and was so brave and so funny at a time when most people would have given up long ago. And he never ever forgot to say, "I love you, Pop".
Deathbed scenes such as those written about or filmed may happen but in my Pip's case, he elected to die alone. He wanted to protect me, as he always has. Being me, I said nonsense (to the nurse, not wanting to distress him), and waited until he was further along the line before I crept in and held his hand. There were no vows of eternal love, no gazing fondly into each other's eyes, but silence as his breathing slowed. Every now and again he gave a sigh, then carried on, just as he did when asleep. I kept waiting for him to open his eyes and say, “Pop? What are you doing? I told you to go home.”
The minutes ticked past, and I looked at his watch. The curtains around his bed were dotted with gaudy flowers, and I started counting them. I kissed his hand, wishing it to respond to mine. My dear brother in law, sitting awkwardly behind me, stroked my back. Outside the curtains the nurses were trying to track down another nurse who hadn't turned up for her shift, were trying to find her number. “I've got it, it's under Bet Mob!” came a triumphant cry.
And finally, my Pip stopped breathing. I expected to feel some momentous wave of grief, to sob loudly and noisily, as I have been doing for the past week. Instead there was a sense of shock, of disbelief. For the man lying there looked nothing like the vibrant husband that I love so much.
We collected his things; I took his wedding ring and his watch. The nurses provided us with a booklet entitled What to do following a bereavement, and my brother in law and I staggered disbelievingly down the now-familiar overheated corridors out into the grey gloom of a quiet Boxing Day.
As we walked back to the car, Pete put his arm around me, I snuck mine round his. Awkwardly, for there is a considerable distance in height, we walked back to the car, sharing stories of a very special man. “You gave him an inner contentment that he'd never had before,” said the generous Pete. “You've made such a difference to the family.”
My Pip gave me love in abundance, confidence, pride and a sense of right and wrong. He was unfailingly generous, courteous and incredibly brave. His wicked sense of humour, his ability to charm any woman alive, and his quick thinking will be remembered by all, and that is one of the things that I shall hold onto on those days when everything is too much.
I feel privileged to have loved, and be loved by, such a very special man.